HL Deb 03 May 1989 vol 507 cc250-1WA
Baroness Blatch

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have considered the Nature Conservancy Council's report of their review of national nature reserves.

The Earl of Caithness

The Government have now completed their examination of the NCC's preliminary report, entitledTowards a Strategy for National Nature Reserves, which the Chairman of the Council, Sir William Wilkinson, sent us at the end of last year. With the agreement of the chairman, copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The report reaffirms the importance NCC attaches to NNRs and the wide range of conservation benefits they bring. It contains a number of interesting suggestions, including the prospect of increased participation by the voluntary and private sectors in reserve ownership and management. At the same time, we accept that there will be a need for some reserves to be held in the council's ownership. The report recognises, however, that further work is required on a number of important issues, not least the identification of costed options for the future size, ownership and management of the reserve network.

We are now discussing with the chairman how this next stage of the review should be carried forward and will make a futher announcement in due course.